Fighting the Cold or Flu
First, the bad news: There’s no actual cure for cold or flu. But on the bright side, these viruses do tend to clear up pretty quickly—within 3 to 10 days, in most cases. While you can’t kill the bugs with medications, you can treat the symptoms so you feel more comfortable and prevent complications, like bronchitis or pneumonia. Here, 11 things you should do at the first sign of sniffles and sneezes.
Is it cold or flu?
Cold symptoms are mostly respiratory—sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose. The flu can have these symptoms too, but it’s much more likely to produce fever and chills, along with headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. “It comes on more suddenly, and the symptoms tend to be much worse than with a cold,” says Christopher Czaja, MD, an infection control officer for the National Jewish Health Hospital in Denver.
Knowing the difference is important because if you suspect you have the flu, you can take an antiviral medication, like Tamiflu, which can shave a few days off seasonal or swine flu if started within the first 2 days of getting sick. Tamiflu is available by prescription only, so if think it’s the flu call your doctor--fast!